There are two new high-rise accommodation options on the Gold Coast – both under the Hilton brand. But which is the better choice for a holiday? Quentin Long finds out There are a few things I don’t understand about the Hilton Surfers Paradise. Don’t get me wrong – I actually really like it and will definitely return next time I’m at the northern end of the Gold Coast. But I’m confused.
After some investigation I threw caution to the wind and decided to try both. They were similarly priced, so I wanted to compare the holiday unit against the hotel room.
But don’t let that put you off, as the Hilton is really a tale of two towers, which are a world unto themselves.
When we were actually there, staff were incredibly helpful. Moments that exceeded our expectations included checkout, when a porter found the suit I had left in the wardrobe and brought it out with the rest of our luggage, and the time a concierge returned my phone to our room after I’d left it in the bar. Now that’s service.
As for the complex itself, the part that exceeded expectations the most was the pool and gym area on the second floor, which is accessible from both towers and serviced by The Deck poolside bar.
Lunch at The Deck was a highlight, too. I ate one of the best steak sangers I’ve had in a hotel anywhere in Australia, while my wife enjoyed Australia’s best hotel club sandwich – the true standard of resort dining, in my opinion. The Deck’s groovy and relaxing milieu could be the set for a Miami cop drama. The pool area is divided into “outdoor rooms” with sheltered cabanas with white awnings, and lounge areas that feature womb-like couches for two – great for a cuddle. It’s a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the poolside oasis as the madness swarms outside the compound on Orchid Avenue, Cavill Avenue and Surfers Paradise Boulevard.
We stayed in an entry-level room, simply named a Guest Room. It was compact, with a small ensuite (sans bathtub – expectation missed) and a queen-size bed.
Lighting throughout the hotel is excellent. In our room, burnt-orange lamps on round black bedside tables seem like small, comforting fires. In the bathroom, the lighting has three levels: functional; subdued night lighting; and don’t-miss-a-pore, burn-my-eyes-out mirror lighting. The room decor is sophisticated but there’s just a single armchair – it’s like a doctor’s surgery that’s lost a chair.
The one thing in the room that did exceed expectations was the pillows. Small detail, I know, but too bulky or not enough bulk and my neck feels like I have been packing a scrum against the All Blacks. I found three amazing, versatile pillows that were easily arranged for slothing around in bed reading, watching TV and sleeping.
The next night we moved to the Residences and our view was much better – we had sea glimpses over the surrounding high-rises. Our modern two-bedroom apartment had white-tiled floors and contemporary furniture – two large lounges for TV viewing and a fully equipped kitchen. My wife walked in and exclaimed, “This is more like it!”
Our room was light-filled and fresh, and had more of a relaxed holiday feel than the businesslike hotel. An ensuite was accessed through the walk-in wardrobe – though I would have preferred a bathtub to a walk-in robe. And the pillows were exactly the same.
So would I recommend the Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel or the Hilton Surfers Paradise Residences? I lean more towards the Residences. The hotel is a little too much like any other good luxury business hotel. I wouldn’t be upset to find myself in the hotel again, but it’s not exceptional. The Residences are.
What’s the gossip?
“Families and couples and businesspeople coexist seamlessly, not just because of the accommodation options (self-contained apartments such as the one we had on floor 28, to romantic guest rooms), but the facilities.”
– Natasha Hughes, smh.com.au